Spain & Portugal Blog 09

May 2019

On the last Thursday in May you might’ve found us practising our Portuguese: “Adeus amigos!” (goodbye) … and then our Spanish: Hola España!” … as we re-crossed the border and took aim on another different-yet-again region, this time in northwest Spain.

Castilla y León is a high plateau ringed by mountains and known for its fabled medieval cities – like Salamanca, with its 12th-century university, its Roman bridge and its baroque Plaza Mayor, awash with golden sandstone … and Segovia, watched over, first, by its ancient Roman aqueduct (boasting more than 160 soaring, interlocking arches, still-standing after 2000 years, go figure!) … and, second, by its multi-turreted ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Alcázar (castle).

As we’ve been finding all over the Iberian Peninsula, food here is an obsession, with the region promising the country’s best jamón (cured ham), roast lamb and suckling pig. That’s right folks, a whole piglet, roasted to perfection and served up on your plate! (We didn’t try it, but we saw it! And you heard about it here!)

We covered a lot of kms on foot in both Salamanca and Segovia – beating the cobbled streets, puffing forever up hills, eyeballing the marvellous architecture, spotting storks and their babies nesting on the highest points in town, getting stiff-necked inside at least a 100 more cathedrals, then rewarding ourselves the way laid-back Portuguese and Spaniards have been doing for centuries. In the lovely, balmy late afternoons and evenings, we Kiwis joined the crowds in pavement cafés or around tables in town squares … ordering a creamy cappuccino or a glass of sparkling vino or a selection of tasty tapas … soaking up the ambience and watching the world go by!

Ahh, yes! This, more than anything else, is what travel’s all about …

COMING UP: “No city on earth is more alive than Madrid,” claims Lonely Planet, “a beguiling place whose sheer energy carries a simple message: this city really knows how to live!” Come with us to our final stopover, and we’ll see if that’s the truth …

PEOPLE-NEWS: Our internationally-feared Quacky Yellow Ducks are still being claimed by Kiwis who do silly, embarrassing, award-worthy things ……

  • Brian scored our ‘Caught With His Pants Up Award’ – for being seen coming out of the ladies loo en route to Segovia. Ask me and I’ll show you the photo of Brian standing next to a sign on the toilet door that couldn’t have been more obvious: a large-bosomed lady in a large red dress!
  • Kaye sneaked away with her second duck and our ‘Quack Up In The Church Award’ – for accidentally sitting on her first duck in the middle of our guide’s quiet talk about church history, causing her poor duck to shatter the unearthly silence of Segovia Cathedral with an outburst of loud quacking.

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to receive future Mad Midlife Travel Blogs in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription! And if you’d like to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your comments! (If the speech bubble isn’t there, click on ‘home’.) Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief.

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!

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